Sciatica pain occurs in the lower back, often shooting downwards in the hips, and radiating towards the leg. Sciatica pain usually affects only one side of the body, occurring in either of the hip and/or leg. It happens when the sciatic nerve is compressed in the lumbar spine.
Symptoms: Sciatica pain is usually described by patients as an acute, shooting pain through the hip travelling through the whole leg. It can feel like an electric shock or a jolt, which gets triggered with sudden impact like during coughing and sneezing. It is also felt as a burning sensation or a mild ache. Patients who take doctor appointment for sciatica often report numbness or weakness in the affected leg, or a combination of numbness and pain across different parts of the leg. It can be differentiated from other forms of back pain on the basis of these symptoms, as it centres around lower back, affects only one side the body, and is often more acute than other backaches.
Causes: Sciatica pain can happen due to variety of reasons. It usually comes out as a symptom of an underlying problem, or as a result of a back injury or chronic condition. Compression of sciatic nerve can be caused by a bulging or herniated disc. Other medical conditions that may cause sciatica are lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, trauma caused by spinal cord injuries, or formation of spinal tumours.
These causes can arise from multiple risk factors such as:
- Age: Slow deterioration of the spine with age can cause bone spurs or herniated disks, which are the most common causes of sciatica.
- Weight: Obesity and excess body weight can put stress on the spine, leading the back pain and chronic issues, increasing the possibility of sciatica.
- Sedentary lifestyle: Sedentary jobs and prolonged sitting can lead to multiple back problems, including sciatica.
- Lifting heavy weights: Lifting heavy weights in wrong posture or putting undue pressure on one side of the body can lead to straining of spinal cord and muscles causing injury and pain.
- Diabetes: Diabetes and increased blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage, which might trigger sciatica.
Diagnosis: Mild and moderate cases of sciatica pain usually subside in a few weeks. There are a number of self-care procedures which can help with sciatica pain at home. Most cases resolve with non-operative treatments. Some cases of sciatica pain can be severe and require medical attention. Symptoms of severe sciatica pain include loss of feeling in the affected leg, loss of bowel and bladder function. Sexual dysfunction has also been reported as symptom of severe sciatica pain. If you have any of these symptoms and the pain continues for longer than a few weeks, it is best to seek medical attention as it can cause permanent nerve damage.
How to treat sciatic pain at home: Mild or moderate sciatic pain can be treated at home with various self-care treatments given below, however you must seek professional advice from the best neurologist in Delhi to rule out any other problems:
- Applying ice and/or hot packs: Ice packs helps to reduce swelling. Ice packs and hot packs both can be used to relieve pain.
- Physical therapy: Most helpful for self-care at home, physical therapy includes stretching exercises, core-strengthening exercises and aerobic exercises. They help with easing muscle inflexibility, strengthens spine and lower back muscles and help activating body.
Treatment for sciatic pain: For severe sciatica pain, and chronic cases with prolonged pain, best neurologists in Delhi perform surgeries. Multiple options are available in Delhi for treating severe sciatica pain. Surgical treatments used for sciatica pain are as follows:
- Microdiscectomy: Used for sciatica caused by herniated disc. The disc material compressing the sciatic nerve is removed using minimally invasive procedure.
- Laminectomy: In this procedure, parts of lamina vertebral bone, which is pressuring the sciatic nerve, are removed.
- Foraminotomy: In this procedure, the neuroforamen is enlarged by removing bony overgrowth. Like in laminectomy, it is done to provide more room for the sciatic nerve.
- Facetectomy: Degenerated facet joints can cause compression of sciatic nerves. In this procedure, they are trimmed or cut out to relieve nerve pressure and provide room.
Take a doctor’s appointment today if you see any symptoms of sciatica pain.